Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick and Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster will lead a public-private taskforce to "reimagine the future of tourism", the Government announced today.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said today the $400 million Tourism Sector Recovery Plan also included a Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme providing $4m to Discover Waitomo and up to $20.2 million for New Zealand's 31 Regional Tourism Organisations.

Davis said the tourism taskforce, co-led by Chadwick, would continue the work started by Tourism New Zealand to reimagine the future of tourism.

"I am pleased to announce that the New Zealand Tourism Futures Taskforce will be led by co-chairs Mayor Steve Chadwick and Grant Webster as they both have a deep understanding of the sector.


"Their leadership, skills and experience will be vital to ensuring we can rebuild a sector that's more economically, environmentally and culturally sustainable, so that it delivers on its promises to Kiwis and visitors alike," Davis said.

Chadwick said it was great for Rotorua that they were at the table and she was very pleased to be asked.

"The taskforce will need to move nimbly and innovatively to identify and address issues and opportunities to shape and support the recovery of New Zealand tourism.

"Coming from Rotorua, the heart of New Zealand tourism, I know the sector's story well and I look forward to our first taskforce meeting to set goals and objectives and get things underway."

She said it would be an opportunity to support the recovery of tourism and ensure they built a tourism future that was sustainable.

Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster. Photo / File
Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster. Photo / File

Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey congratulated Chadwick on her appointment.

"I am proud to enjoy a strong working relationship with Steve as Waiariki MP, and I mihi to her on her appointment. Steve is a proven voice and force at the table, with unrivalled leadership in rapidly growing tourism audiences, and working collectively with iwi and communities to make positive change happen.

"This appointment is a win for her, the Waiariki and New Zealand."


Discover Waitomo

Tourism Holdings shares jumped after its Discover Waitomo business was named as one of the first recipients of the government's $400 million tourism support fund.

The Waitomo caves operation will receive up to $4m to keep the business alive as the nation's borders remain closed through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tourism Holdings shares rose 10.6 per cent to $2.40 in early trading, taking their gain so far this week to 33 per cent.

The government's Tourism Sector Recovery Plan set aside $400m in the Budget for the industry to help cushion the blow from Covid-19 and position the sector for recovery.

Davis said Discover Waitomo's application for funding had been fast tracked as there was an "urgent need" for cash.

"Discover Waitomo is a world-renowned iconic tourism attraction that generates significant economic, cultural and employment benefits for the region," he said in a statement.


"Without this support, it may not have been possible to preserve this key asset, so it was important to act fast."

Davis also said up to $20.2m of the fund was available for the country's 31 regional tourism organisations to support their local industries.

He said rebuilding the sector would depend on well-resourced regional organisations coordinating activities within the industry.